New careers strategy launched by government
The long-awaited new careers strategy contains some welcome steps in terms of the evolution of careers support for young people in England. Whilst it acknowledges the importance of effective careers education, advice and guidance, backed up by some good practical recommendations, it would appear that there will be very modest investment to implement them. It does not provide discrete, ongoing funding to schools so that they can resource the careers provision that it recommends, nor any requirement for access to professionally qualified advisory staff.
In relation to young people, the strategy recommends that schools' provision of careers support is assessed against the Gatsby benchmarks and that there should be a designated careers leader in every school. There is very modest funding to help the most needy schools train such a leader (but not to employ them), and for 20 careers hubs to help enhance provision through the Careers & Enterprise Company. Potentially more significant developments are closer attention by Ofsted to careers provision and the requirement for all schools and colleges to publish details of their programme next year.
The current policy foci on ‘technical education' post-16 and the role of employers in schools are also referred to repeatedly. CRAC would argue strongly that effective careers support cannot be provided by employers and teachers alone, even where coordinated by a careers leader. We believe some aspects of the advice and guidance process require interaction with a trained and qualified careers professional.
The strategy poses some interesting recommendations, and some funding for investigation into what works best, for schools in relation to primary age pupils and those with special needs. It is not a comprehensive strategy in terms of a fully joined-up, all-age approach to guidance, but suggests that limited careers support for adults will continue to be available through the National Careers Service contractors and an updated website. Perhaps unsurprisingly in the current climate, its states that support will be targeted ‘to those that need it most', by which it means the unemployed, people with low qualification levels and those with special educational needs and disabilities.
Amongst the rare mentions of higher education is the recognition that students from disadvantaged backgrounds may need additional support from HE careers services in order to achieve good outcomes, and that this will be on the radar for the new Director of Fair Access and Participation and the Office for Students.